Chronic Kidney Failure (CKD)
Is a gradual (months to years) loss in kidney function. Kidneys filter wastes and excess fluid from the body but when this function is impaired dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes and wastes can build up in the body.
Factors that may increase your risk of chronic kidney disease include:
- Diabetes type 1 or 2
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
- Being African, Asian or Native American descent
- Family history of kidney disease
- Age 65 or older
- Long term analgesics use
WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR
Since signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease are often present at later stages of CKD when kidney damage is irreversible, people with increased risk should be screened routinely by a general practitioner and in many cases a nephrologist (kidney specialist) to prevent or slow progression of kidney failure.
Treatment of chronic kidney disease is focused around slowing of the kidney damage progression by controlling the underlying cause. Chronic kidney disease can progress to Stage 5 - also known as the End Stage Renal Disease which is fatal without artificial kidney replacement therapy (dialysis) or kidney transplant.
The stages of chronic kidney disease are determined by the glomerular filtration rate. Glomerular filtration (GFR) is the process by which the kidneys filter the blood, removing excess wastes and fluids. GFR is calculation that determines how well the blood is filtered by the kidneys. It is a one way to measure kidney function.
A formula is used to calculate glomerular filtration rate. This usually includes patient's:
- serum creatinine levels
Stage 1 with normal or high GFR (GFR > 90 mL/min)
Stage 2 Mild CKD (GFR = 60-89 mL/min)
Stage 3A Moderate CKD (GFR = 45-59 mL/min)
Stage 3B Moderate CKD (GFR = 30-44 mL/min)
Stage 4 Severe CKD (GFR = 15-29 mL/min)
Stage 5 End Stage CKD (GFR <15 mL/min)
DIET and CKD
General recommendations for patients with chronic kidney disease are centered around low salt, low potassium and low protein diet. Please talk to your Nephrologist or Renal Dietitian for individualized recommendation.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
It is important to know that symptoms of chronic kidney disease are often non specific and sings often appear when irreversible damage has already occurred.
These symptoms may include:
-Nausea and vomiting
-Loss of appetite
-Fatigue and weakness
-Changes in urine output
-Muscle twitches and cramps
-Decrease in mental sharpness
-Shortness of breath
-High blood pressure
Dialysis education and dialysis options should be introduced by a nephrologist when patient reaches Stage 4 of CKD. This is absolute prerequisite for smooth and stable transition to Stage 5 - Dialysis Stage.